McLaren to cut 1,200 jobs as virus hits demand

McLaren production lineImage source, McLaren

UK supercar maker and Formula 1 team McLaren plans to cut more than a quarter of its workforce after the coronavirus crisis hit sales and advertising revenue.

The firm employs about 4,000 people, and of the 1,200 to be made redundant, the vast majority will be in the UK.

Formula 1 racing has been suspended, while orders for McLaren's supercars have fallen because of the pandemic.

McLaren said it had been "severely affected" by the crisis.

The company said it had worked hard to cut costs and avoid layoffs.

"But we now have no other choice but to reduce the size of our workforce," McLaren chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement.

"This is undoubtedly a challenging time for our company, and particularly our people, but we plan to emerge as an efficient, sustainable business with a clear course for returning to growth."

The carmaker, which builds vehicles for racetracks and the road, operates from a facility at Woking, Surrey, that was designed by the architect Norman Foster's company. McLaren also has a composites technology centre in Sheffield.

Image source, McLaren

McLaren's Formula 1 operation expects to lose about 70 people from its 800-strong workforce.

However, there will be a second phase of redundancies in 2021 once the team has taken a recent sport-wide budget cap agreement into account.

While the coronavirus crisis has driven the redundancies across the whole group, the cost-cap has been the biggest influence on the racing team.

Many other teams - especially the big ones such as Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - will also have to cut head count but there may be other ways of doing it for some, such as redeployment in the wider group for the big car companies.